Kerry's war record may backfire on critics
Those slamming Vietnam hitch may be shooting themselves in the foot
The dustup over Kerry's military records could be just the opportuntity he needs to kickstart his general election campaign.
During the Democratic primary, nothing impressed voters as much as stories of Kerry's war heroism.
For nonprimary voters still getting to know Kerry, few things could burnish his image as much as a conversation about how a young man from Yale chose to fight in Vietnam and ended up winning three Purple Hearts, one Silver Star and a Bronze Medal.
A discussion about Kerry's military service would also persuade many voters to take Kerry's military policy more seriously. Indeed, in pointing out that he personally understands what it means to fight and defend the country -- and even to kill -- Kerry could ease any doubt that he would be soft on terrorism or enemies.
During the primaries, Kerry and his veterans' brigade opened the possibility of a veterans' voting bloc for the first time in more than 40 years.
Further discussion of his record, contrasted with the National Guard records of President George Bush and the military deferments of Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and others, might make the emergence of such a voting bloc that much more likely and give Kerry just the political gift he's looking for.
From... The Inside Edge with Carlos Watson
John Kerry's Official Naval
Military Service Awards [pdf: 1.3MB]
This file contains documents on the awarding of John Kerry's military service awards: 3 Purple Hearts, 1 Bronze Star, and 1 Silver Star.
John Kerry's After-Action Combat Reports
Kerry Purple Heart "Spot" Reports [pdf: 210kb]
This file contains after-action ("spot") reports from two of the combat actions in which John Kerry was wounded.
Kerry Highly Praised in Military Records
"With conservative critics questioning his service, the Democratic presidential candidate posted more than 120 pages of military records on his campaign Web site. Several describe him as a gutsy commander and detail some of the actions that won him three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star."
"Kerry's most harrowing experience came during the nearly five months when he commanded a swiftboat along Vietnam's Mekong Delta. The future Massachusetts senator was commended for gallantry, heroism and valor during the tour, which was cut short when Kerry was wounded three times and sent back to the United States."
And meanwhile the Democratic Committee & Republican Committee spokespersons spar over the records:
"Simply put, Kerry has a proud record of sacrifice and service whereas Bush has a record of cashed-in connections and evasion," McAuliffe said in a statement Wednesday.
Republican National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson said, "Like so many of Terry McAuliffe's comments, this one is not worthy of the dignity of a response."